Return to Transcripts main page
Don Lemon Tonight
Air Raid Sirens Heard In Kyiv, Explosions Outside Capital; Has Invasion Of Ukraine Completely Changed The Global Order?; Member Of Ukraine's Parliament Speaks Out; Ukrainian Village Prepping For Russian Attack; Top Ukrainian Pop Star Works To Get The Truth Of War Out To The World. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired March 15, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST (on camera): This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. Our breaking news, air raid sirens blaring overnight in Kyiv. A CNN team reporting a series of explosions tonight surrounding suburbs. That follows heavy shelling earlier today in the capital. Russian forces hitting apartment buildings. The city's mayor saying at least four people were killed. But Ukraine striking back. We are getting new images of Russian helicopters blown up.
Those are just ahead.
And tomorrow, President Biden expected to announce a new round of military assistance for Ukraine. Fareed Zakaria is going to join me in just a few moments to discuss how Russia's invasion of Ukraine is upending the global world order.
Also tonight, villagers in central Ukraine, including an angry grandma, bracing for an attack by Russian forces and refusing to leave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: By the way, Nina (ph) says that if she saw Vladimir Putin, she would strangle him with her own hands right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Let me get straight to CNN's international correspondent Hala Gorani live for us in Lviv, Ukraine. Hala, hello to you. Another chaotic night in Kyiv. More air raid sirens and explosions. The city is now in an extended curfew. How bad is the situation getting around Ukraine's capital?
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's an uptick in military activity on the outskirts. It's been the case really since the beginning of this invasion. Russian forces are not hitting the center of the capital. And Ukrainians are really mounting quite a defense of their capital Kyiv. But, as you mentioned there at the top of the hour, Russian forces are targeting suburban areas and civilian buildings, as well. We are seeing civilians killed.
The president of Ukraine, Zelensky, in fact, mentioned that of all the people killed, 97 of them were children killed in these Russian attacks. So, this is taking a huge toll on civilians across the country.
It is important to note that the Ukrainians are really defending their capital. And as far as ground troops are concerned, they are not near the center of the city because Ukrainian forces have made sure to slow the advance of any Russian troops on the ground level. They are resorting to aerial strikes and missile strikes but still on the outskirts.
The tragedy is in cities like Mariupol in the southeast where you have reports that an entire hospital staff and patients are unable to leave because of some of the violence and some of the shelling and targeting around that area, even though a few civilians have been able to leave the city.
Humanitarian organizations are calling some parts of Ukraine a disaster zone at this point, Don.
LEMON: Let's talk a little bit more about Mariupol because citizens in that city are trapped without power and heat units in the hospital. But these bombs have been devastating the city. And there's also reporting of people being held against their will in that hospital there as well, Hala. What do you know?
GORANI: Right. So, the question is, are they held hostage? Are they there because they are unable to leave because of the shelling and the fighting around that facility?
Either way, this is a desperate situation for people in medical facilities, and in residential buildings because in the last few weeks, every attempt at evacuation, almost every attempt at evacuation has failed because Russians have been accused of shelling and targeting some of these evacuation routes.
In Mariupol, we are hearing some reports of people having to melt snow for drinking water because there's no power, no gas, no energy, no electricity. And those who are suffering the most obviously are the most vulnerable, the elderly and the kids.
LEMON (on camera): Yeah. And the video, I mean, it is devastating there. Hala, thank you very much. We appreciate your reporting. We'll see you at the top of the hour. Hala is going to lead CNN's live coverage as soon as we are off the air in just an hour or so.
The Russian advance stalling across Ukraine, even as they hammer cities, as their initial playbook fails on the ground. Russian forces changing their tactics.
CNN's Phil Black takes a look at why the invasion isn't unfolding the way Russia predicted.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russian munitions are still having a devastating impact on civilians in key cities. In Mariupol, in the capital Kyiv. But Russian forces are still making little progress, advancing across Ukrainian territory. The core U.S. assessment has not changed for much of the war.
UNKNOWN: The Kremlin's forces remain stalled in many areas.
BLACK (voice-over): And experts agree, almost three weeks in, Russia is in trouble.
MATHIEU BOULEGUE, RESEARCH FELLOW, RUSSIA AND EURASIA PROGRAM AT CHATHAM HOUSE: No wars go according to plan. The problem is that Russia's plan was extremely bad.
BLACK (voice-over): The key question, why?
BOULEGUE: I would argue it is a mix of everything. It is a failed or botched concept of operation with plenty of wrong assumptions about the very nature of the battlefield.
Russia believing in a way that Ukrainians would capitulate or Ukraine would crumble.
BLACK (voice-over): And experts believe Russia's failure to secure a quick definitive win has revealed another major floor in its planning.
KEVIN RYAN, RETIED BRIGADIER GENERAL, DIRECTOR OF DEFENSE AND INTELLIGENCE PROJECTS HARVARD: Russia is out of available combat forces to put into this fight.
BLACK (voice-over): Analysts say Russia's limited forces are now divided between taking territory and laying siege to major cities, reducing their ability to do both tasks effectively, and that means Russia must be reassessing what victory looks like.
BOULEGUE: At this stage, we are still talking about limited gains and doors. There are simply not enough troops potentially coming from Russia or elsewhere to do any sort of massive, full scale ground invasion of Ukraine, keep that territory, hold it, and then fight a very costly counter insurrection war.
BLACK (voice-over): U.S. officials say they are seeing some early efforts to boost troop numbers with foreign fighters.
UNKNOWN: We believe that out of Syria, there perhaps small -- small -- very small groups of people that may be trying to make their way to Ukraine.
BLACK (voice-over): How the next phase of the war plays out will be significantly determined by Russia's intentions in Kyiv. Trying to take the capital would likely involve months of bombardment and urban warfare. UNKNOWN: That's going to be a tough order of business. Those Ukrainians know every single alley, every backroom, every road, every intersection. The Russians are going to find themselves in a hard fight.
BLACK (voice-over): Slow Russian progress can help Ukrainian forces by allowing them more time to prepare and be re-supplied with advanced weapons from allies. But experts say it could also inspire greater brutality from Russia, a willingness to escalate and destroy in order to compensate for its stalled invasion.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
LEMON (on camera): All right, Phil, thank you very much for that.
Now, I want to bring in CNN military analyst and retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. Colonel, hello to you. Good evening to you. CNN is learning that President Biden will announce a new package of military assistance to Ukraine, including more of the javelins and the stinger missiles, but stopping short of a no-fly zone. So, why does this assistance mean so much for Ukrainians?
CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST, RETIRED AIR FORCE COLONEL: Let's take a look, Don, at this. Good evening to you.
This is the javelin anti-tank guided missile system. So, again, it's designed to go against tanks. It's three and a half foot-long missile shoulder fired. This is the key thing. It's a shoulder fired and that means that a single soldier can operate dismissal. This is extremely important. And as far as the range goes, it is 8,200 feet long -- it has a range of 8,200 feet. It can go that far, so over a mile and a half, and can do that quite well.
Now, as far as the air part is concerned, this is the stinger missile, and the stinger is basically a man-portable air-defense system as it says right here. It's five feet long, has a maximum range of five miles and an altitude -- it can reach an altitude of about 12,500 feet depending on the variant.
And this is the key thing. It's a heat-seeking antiaircraft missile. So, it's a heat-seeking missile. It goes after things like the afterburners of an aircraft and it can find the aircraft because it's hotter than the surrounding atmosphere.
And that's why these missiles are so important. And they can be a huge gamechanger when it comes to actually combat capability for a country like Ukraine.
LEMON: We have been talking a lot about the performance of the Russian military and the military has been frustrated and hit by heavy losses on the ground. But at the same time, Russian weapons are devastating Ukrainian cities. How long could this dynamic last? Can you tell at this point?
LEIGHTON: Well, there are a lot of different things that could go on in something like this. But let's take a look at something that is happening around Kyiv right here. This is the map as it currently exists. If you paid attention over the last few weeks that we have done this, a lot of this looks pretty static.
A lot of movement is not happening in areas like this, although the Russians are supposedly very close to the northeastern part of the city, in the northwestern, and this part of the western part of the city of Kyiv.
But what things are going on include movements by reconnaissance forces. So, you have scouts going out from the Russian areas into these areas right here. And what the Russians are trying to do is move in this direction. They're still trying to do this and potentially this way as well. But they seem to be running into some problems with that. And the reasons for this are multifaceted, as some of the other analysts have said.
The big thing here is terrain. This is a lot hillier than we think it is. Up here is also very hilly terrain. It is very different than parts of the country.
And what this means is the Russians are going to have to figure out how to go through each of these city areas because if they don't do it, then they're going to run into even more difficulties, more difficulties in terms of logistics, in terms of troop morale, in terms of the ability to move things forward, and that is a considerable drag on their forces and their ability to do things.
LEMON: Well, Russia's first plan to take Ukraine didn't work, colonel. Are they stalled now because they're working out a plan B? Is that what is happening?
LEIGHTON: Yes, they are definitely working out a plan B because they're adaptive. Even though they're looking at different things and we've seen them kind of stalled out here, that does not mean that they're being stationary.
They are thinking things through. They're trying to adapt, overcome, and figure out how to take a limited logistics capability to some kind of victory that's going to be acceptable to Vladimir Putin.
LEMON: We're getting these new images tonight of at least three Russian helicopters destroyed at the Kherson airport. It's the most destructive known military strike that Ukrainian military has conducted against Russian helicopters during the war. What does this tell us about the offensive power Ukraine still has?
LEIGHTON: It is pretty considerable, actually. So, this is imagery of the airfield, the Kherson air field, and it's quite interesting because you already see some flaming helicopters that are stationary on the ground right here and the smoke plume, of course, is quite considerable. This shows that they definitely hit their targets. One other thing that I noticed though is this. This runway has been cratered. That means the runway is inoperable for fixed wing aircraft. I'm not sure who did that, whether that was done when the Russians attacked the airfield or whether it was done by the Ukrainians in this particular strike or in a similar strike.
But there is a lot of ordinances that has been extended here, and if it's all from Ukraine, that's a considerable effort. And even if it isn't, it still shows that the Ukrainians are capable of mounting a very significant strike against Russian combat forces.
LEMON: Colonel, thank you very much. I really appreciate it again.
LEIGHTON: You bet, Don. Absolutely.
LEMON (on camera): Has Vladimir Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine completely changed the global order? Can it ever go back to the way it was?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: There is going to be a Ukraine -- an independent Ukraine a lot longer than there is going to be a Vladimir Putin. One way or the other, Ukraine will be there, and at some point, Putin won't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, there are air raid sirens in Kyiv tonight. Russian forces are apparently stalled outside the Ukrainian capital. That's according to a senior U.S. Defense official. But that is not stopping the shelling today. Look at all this destruction. It comes as officials tell CNN that President Biden will announce a new round of military assistance for Ukraine tomorrow, including anti-tank missiles.
Let's discuss now. Fareed Zakaria is here. He is the host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS" right here on CNN. We appreciate you joining us, Fareed. Good evening to you.
President Biden announcing new weapons for Ukraine as soon as tomorrow, and he is meeting with NATO leaders in Brussels next week. Clearly, the Biden administration is realizing that they need to do more as the Russians shelling intensifies, but is it enough?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: It is not enough, but it is the right thing to do. Look, the only -- the only strategy that makes any sense here is to raise the costs for Putin. And you can raise them in two or three different ways.
But the most potent one by far is going to be the military costs of arming Ukraine, giving them weapons. That is what has already achieved in this extraordinary result, which is that the Russian plans have been entirely thrown into disarray. And you can already see the impact of Ukraine's resistance on Russian demands.
So, we have good reporting coming out from various sources on what is going on in the negotiations. And it is clear that the Russian demands are moderate. The Russians thought they were going to take Ukraine within a day or two, a week or so. It has now been two weeks.
And the U.S. estimates are that Russia has lost 5,000, 6000 soldiers. Put that in perspective. That is more Russian troop soldiers who have died in Ukraine in two weeks than American soldiers that died in 20 years in Afghanistan.
So, this is all working. We just need to do more. We need to accelerate, we need to intensify, and we need to keep the pressure up on the other forms of costs for Putin: economic, financial. I still continue to believe that we need to get at his energy supplies. We have to, in some way or another, make it virtually impossible for Russia to sell oil and natural gas.
LEMON (on camera): President Zelenskyy, Fareed, appears to be moving away from his push to Ukraine to join NATO. This is what he said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): For years, we have been hearing about how the door is supposedly open to NATO membership. But now, we hear that we cannot enter that door. And it is true and it must be acknowledged. I am glad that our people are beginning to understand this and rely on themselves and on our partners who assist us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): And Putin is apparently backing off regime change, telling the (INAUDIBLE) president it was never a demand. Could this mean that there is hope for negotiations?
ZAKARIA: I think there is hope for negotiations. But it is worth pointing out that Zelensky has always been reasonable. The Ukrainians have always been willing to negotiate these issues. Zelensky said before the Russian invasion, you know, look, NATO membership may be one of those things that is like a dream for us, not a reality. The Ukrainians have talked about a variety of different forms.
And more importantly, NATO has told Russia, the Russians privately, that Ukrainian membership was very unlikely to happen anytime soon. Chancellor Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, both communicated to Putin personally that Ukrainian membership was not in the offer. So, there is a certain mythology here that Ukraine was about to become a member of NATO. It wasn't.
Putin has a desire that Ukraine really be a vessel, a satellite state, basically like Belarus, a country where the regime essentially is entirely beholden to him, Vladimir Putin.
But all of this does suggest what I was saying earlier, Don, which is that the Ukrainian resistance is having an effect. Russia had approach this almost with a demand, unconditional surrender, we are going to destroy this regime, we are going to de-Nazify it, we are going to neutralize it. All of that is gone.
We are now having apparently a more serious conversation about, okay, do the Russians keep the parts of the Eastern Ukraine that they're in? Will Ukraine recognize Crimea? That is a serious negotiation. And let us hope it moves forward.
But let's not mistake, the only reason it has even gotten to this place is because the Ukrainians are fighting and they are effectively fighting because they have weapons from the west.
LEMON: Listen, I'm so glad you said that because, you know, I've heard certain people commenting on the war, saying, well, the media is not talking about -- the both sides say that they're open for negotiations. Well, as you said, Ukraine's Zelenskyy has always been open for negotiations. It is the Russian side that needed to move. And the Russian side is moving, if I'm hearing you correctly, only because of the difficulties they are facing in Ukraine. Correct?
ZAKARIA: Yes. I mean, think about it, Don. If Putin had taken Kyiv in two or three days, which was his plan, would there be any negotiation? No.
ZAKARIA: Zelenskyy would be hung up. There would've been a complete regime change. A puppet regime would have been put in place. We know some of these plans. We know some of the people they were planning to put in place. And this is part of a battle. Putin responds and reacts only to force, to countermeasures.
And to a certain extent, I think what has happened here is that there have been two sets of countermeasures that Putin did not anticipate. One, internally from Ukraine, the resistance of the extraordinarily brave Ukrainian people. The other, the unity and purposefulness of the west and the effect of the sanctions.
This is the most dramatic economic sanctions really ever put in place because it is comprehensive economic sanctions against a fairly connected country. You know, sanctioning North Korea or Venezuela, fine, but these countries are not that connected into the global economy. Russia is.
And so, the reality for Russia losing all of its bank access, losing 900 McDonald's stores, Boeing and Airbus not supplying spare parts, the reality that they have suddenly been cut off, this is a big deal. This is what Russia is reacting to. This is what Putin is reacting to in the new -- apparently the new more reasonable negotiating demands.
LEMON: Fareed Zakaria. Fareed, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Ukraine's parliament meeting in secret today in the middle of a war-
torn Kyiv. I'm going to speak with a member of the parliament who was there right after this.
LEMON (on camera): The capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, under a 35-hour curfew as Russian troops target of the city. Residents only allowed to leave their homes to go into bombshell shelters. That as the Ukrainian parliament held a secret meeting today in Kyiv. Before the meeting, they rose together for the Ukrainian national anthem. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UKRAINIANS SINGING THEIR NATIONAL ANTHEM)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Maryan Zablotskyy is a member of the Ukrainian parliament, and Maryan Zablotskyy joins me now. Thank you. I really appreciate it. You are in Kyiv today for the meeting that was held in secret because of the fear a Russian airstrike could take out the entire parliament. What was that like today and what did you discuss, Maryan?
MARYAN ZABLOTSKYY, MEMBER OF UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT: It was our duty to meet. We adopted around 22 pieces of different legislations basically for the wartime period. We changed the whole taxation system of Ukraine. We introduced a very simple two percent turnover tax for the whole of Ukrainian businesses independent of the size of the profits so that at least some (INAUDIBLE) during these times.
And, of course, it was a symbolic moment to show that we are in Kyiv, we stand strong. So, almost all of the parliament arrived. We sang our anthem. And the words you just heard that you played, is that we will lay our body and our soul for our freedom. We will never give up.
LEMON (on camera): You know, the other day, you said that Kyiv only has two weeks left of food and water with even fewer medical supplies. How dire is it on the ground?
ZABLOTSKYY: Well, currently, you can approach Kyiv relatively safely from the south. Russians have largely failed in surrounding Kyiv. And apparently, I think that there are grounds that they will further retreat away from Kyiv.
Several groups who are monitoring social media very closely and what our soldiers are posting are trying to calculate the number of casualties that the Russians actually confirmed. And only those captured on videos, you can see that at least 217 Russian tanks destroyed or captured and more than 400 infantry-fighting vehicles. So, actually, Russians suffered enormous losses that are -- they apparently just not able to confess to.
LEMON: And Maryan, what is being done to replenish these day-to-day necessities? What are you doing?
ZABLOTSKYY: It seems like the whole country is working on the war effort. So, it's almost like a total war effort. So, me and other members of parliament and regular people, we are bringing in supplies as much as we can.
So, I was able to fundraised and to contact some of the (INAUDIBLE), but there is such an enormous spirit among ordinary people that the army at the front has been getting everything that we have and all the savings that the Ukrainian people ever had.
Plus, we are extremely grateful for the aid that the U.S. government is currently providing. It is true that with this aid, we are helping. We are actually (INAUDIBLE) Russians.
LEMON: The prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia, the Czech RAepublic were in Kyiv today. What does it mean to see these world leaders there at such a dangerous moment?
ZABLOTSKYY: It is extremely important for us. So, it shows further support and it provides additional protection. So, the fact that they were traveling by train to the capital of Kyiv basically provides additional protection to all the trains going in and around from Ukraine (INAUDIBLE).
This sort of resembles the previous actions from before. We know in 2008, when Putin attacked Georgia, our president also traveled to visit the capital of Georgia to show support and to prevent further airstrikes on Georgia.
LEMON: So, President Zelensky is slated to speak to Congress tomorrow. What do you want to come out of that?
ZABLOTSKYY: I'm very sure that president will deliver a sincere and a very emotional speech that will further energize American people and U.S. Congress for further support. Plus, I'm sure that he will show the gratitude for the billions of dollars already provided and for the military aid.
And I hope that some of the companies -- and yes, by looking at what's going on can do more because to be quite honest, we have some of the support of companies like Philip Morris International, a U.S.-based company, continues to pay taxes to Russia. We know that Philip Morris International, for example, paid well over $4 billion of taxes to the Russian state budget and still does not want to leave the country and continue to finance the Russian military.
LEMON: Maryan, you told my team that you have heard many stories of atrocities being committed by Russian soldiers. What have you heard?
ZABLOTSKYY: Very difficult to talk about them. Some of the members of parliament were deeply involved in taking people outside of the worst affected areas. And they told me the stories of the people who were there for days. It's stories of systemic rape, of random shootings. We hear stories of at least a dozen buses full of civilians shot at by people (INAUDIBLE) to other parts of Russian military.
Basically, visitation in the captured areas in terms of atrocities to our civilians is even much worse than I thought initially when I heard it on the ground directly.
LEMON: Maryan, thank you. Be safe. We appreciate you joining.
ZABLOTSKYY: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you.
ZABLOTSKYY: Thank you for having me.
LEMON (on camera): A village refusing to leave prepping for attacks by Russian soldiers, and the 71-year-old grandmother says she is ready.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I am ready, she says. If by God the Russians come here, I will shoot them all and my hands won't even shake. I will throw grenades at them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Residents of many towns and villages in central Ukraine have been spared Russia's brutal military assault at least for now. But they know it is likely coming and they are preparing to defend themselves, ordinary people, firefighters and electricians, farmers and grandmothers ready to stand their ground.
More on their determination to fight back from CNN's Ivan Watson.
WATSON (voice-over): Dawn breaks over the city of Vinnytsia with an air raid sign. The ground war has yet to reach this city in central Ukraine. But locals are not taking any chances.
This is the entrance to a village on the outskirts of the city, a checkpoint protected by volunteers, an ex-cop, a fireman, and an electrician.
(On camera): Look at how this village is protecting itself. Homemade tank traps, which the local calls hedgehogs. They have sewn netting and puts up sandbags. And around the wall here of this checkpoint, they've got boxes of Molotov cocktails ready. This is all locally- made. These are improvised defenses. And this is just one Ukrainian village.
(Voice-over): Just down the road, I meet Nina Chataluuk, who seems like a sweet 71-year-old grandmother.
(On camera): By the way, Nina says that if she saw Vladimir Putin, she would strangle him with her own hands right now.
(Voice-over): I am ready, she says. If by God the Russians come here, I will shoot them all and my hands won't even shake. I will throw grenades at them.
There is seething anger here at Moscow's invasion. And at the same time, examples of tremendous generosity. Stuck inside a garage, humanitarian assistance trucked in from Europe. Personal donations of clothes and food for the struggling people of Ukraine. Aid that will then be shipped off to frontline cities.
VLADYSLAV KRYVESHKO, DISTRICT HEAD OF VNNYTSIA CITY TERRITORIAL COMMUNITY: I want to say thank you for the rest of the world, for the world. I want to say that we need help. We need and we will need help.
WATSON (on camera): Is Vinnytsia ready if the Russian military --
WATSON (on camera): -- comes to the city?
KRYVESHKO: Yeah. And other cities give us the time. We have two weeks to make good defense. Today, we are ready. But we don't want this.
WATSON (voice-over): The war effort extends to Basili Zolsky (ph) and his farm where workers labor listening to news of the war. Basili (ph) donates free food to self-defense forces.
(On camera): Basili (ph) says he is doing his part to help with the war effort. He says he is planting more crops, and he is going to try to grow more food to feed Ukrainians who may be in need in the weeks and months ahead.
(Voice-over): One of Vladimir Putin's stated objectives for his war on Ukraine was to demilitarize the country. Instead, he has mobilized farmers, grandmothers and electricians to form a grassroots resistance against the Russian invasion.
(On camera): Don, everyone I've spoken with here knows somebody who's either fighting the Russian military or who has been made homeless or injured or killed by the Russian military. And it does feel as if everybody I have spoken with feels like they are trying to do their part no matter how small and helping to protect their homeland from this unprovoked Russian war. Don?
(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON (on camera): All right. Ivan Watson, thank you very much.
She is a mentor on The Voice of Ukraine. She has been on Eurovision. And now, she's using her amazing voice to protest war in Ukraine. Tina Karol is next.
LEMON: Day after day, we are seeing Ukrainians fight to save their country from the bloody Russia onslaught. Take Tina Karol, for example, she's a pop star and actress, often called the Britney Spears of Ukraine for her powerful singing voice and lavish concerts that attract thousands of young fans.
Now, she is walking and singing in solidarity with her fellow Ukrainians and she has created the International Center for Information Resistance to tell the truth about what Russian forces are doing to Ukraine.
And Tina Karol joins me now. Tina, thank you so much. We appreciate you joining us.
TINA KAROL, UKRAINIAN SINGER AND ACTRESS: Hello and thank you.
LEMON: You know, we saw you marching in solidarity with fellow Ukrainians. You're in Poland right now, but you didn't want to leave Ukraine at first, right? How hard was it to leave your home?
KAROL: It's so hard because really like love my Ukraine, love my country, love my neighborhood, my everything around and everything inside my country. And of course, I have a home, and of course, I have a role in my home. And of course, I have a lot of memories that -- about my home. And now -- of course, I have a stage. Of course, I have an audience. And now, I'm homeless. Now, I sing on the street.
And when you are a huge star in your country, when you play with musicians, Justin Bieber with the stage, you know, then you just always need to explore who are you and explain who are you. I'm a star. I can't help you. So now, my life is terrible. This is big trouble in the world. This is world trouble what we have now. We just take first punch. And you'll see the problem will come inside the Europe. This is sad and bad what happened.
LEMON: You think -- hold on, hold on, hold on, slow down, Tina, please. You think trouble -- you think Europe should brace for trouble, larger Europe, not just Ukraine. Is that what you just said?
KAROL: Yes, yes. This is what I think. This is what I understand for now. Of course.
LEMON: Your parents stayed in Ukraine. Have you spoken with them? Are they safe?
KAROL: Oh, my parents now in Ukraine. Of course, I spoke with them all the time. And my father was crying because his mother was run from center of Ukraine when the fascism was, and he's Jewish. And now, he was crying because he saying my mother was run like this. I do this now. What happened with the world? So, we, are peaceful people. Trust me. We're just people. And now, we -- I don't know how to say. This is so much painful.
LEMON: You created the International Center for Information Resistance, and you're trying to get the truth of the atrocities of the war out. How are you -- how are you doing that?
KAROL: Of course, this is of how I spoke, this is how I sing. Of course, this is how I talk with the people. And of course, I knew the Russia language, and I can explain to the Russia people what is true. It's important to show them what is true because they're close. And now, No Instagram, no Facebook, no connection, you know. And of course, I am close to IT Army. It's new type of soldiers, you know. They're soldiers too. This is innovation.
LEMON: Yeah. Did you see -- did you see the Russia journalists protesting live on Russia state TV? We're learning that she was questioned for more than 14 hours after that.
KAROL: Yes, I saw and it was in Instagram. Someone tell me that this is fake because news need to be -- news not online always. But everybody, we're online now.
LEMON: Yeah. How do you get past the Putin propaganda machine and spread the truth about what is taking place to the Russia people?
KAROL: They know me. They know that I am really good in regular live because I help to the people. I help to the kids who have cancer. My husband died because he was ill. And they understand that I'm always was -- it was a good vibe. I can't lie. So trust me.
LEMON: You're also working on providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine. What do people there need most, do you know?
KAROL: What do people what?
LEMON: What do people need most there?
KAROL: Oh, you know, it's big stress. Nobody understands how to begin new life or who are you. This is all musicians -- I'm a musician, you know. All musicians, they don't know how to find new place, no help to find yourself a new place.
It's more deeply problem. And a lot of people there just -- the family are broke because fathers, sons, they stay in Ukraine. They need to fight. What? This is 2022. And we need to leave our men on the war. It's -- can't imagine, you know. And the father to the glass and train and (inaudible) and they cry. It's -- I can't (inaudible). LEMON: It's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking. But you're trying to do something about it. You're trying to do something about it. We appreciate it.
Tina, thank you. We have to get to the top of the hour for more of our live coverage with our folks on the ground. But we appreciate what you're doing. You're welcome to come back any time. And stay safe, okay? Take care.
LEMON: Thank you. And thank you for watching, everyone. Our live coverage continues.